The demolition of the historic building Dreyeroord, also know as The White House, is almost done. At the same time it became known that the campaign for the preservation of this building was nominated by D66 Renkum as thé 2017 citizens’ initiative of the commune of Renkum.
D66 Renkum is a local political party who organizes this competition every year. The foundation which started the campaign for preservation of The White House is one of the ten nominees. Citizens of Renkum can give their vote to whom they think deserves this title.
This creates mixed feelings at the foundation Behoud WO2 Erfgoed Gelderland (Preservation WW2 Heritage Gelderland) which has fought so hard for the preservation of this remarkable piece of war heritage.
After a struggle for preservation of more than a year, an area full of debris is all that remains of this place where fierce fighting took place in the September days of 1944, when British airborne troops fought German and Dutch SS units.
“‘The second battle of the White House’, British Airborne veteran Geoff Roberts, also called our fight for salvation,” says Wiljo Pas of the foundation.
“It doesn’t leave you untouched when you speak to someone like that and feel his emotion about these demolition plans. Geoff fought around this hotel in 1944 and we would have liked to keep this place, out of respect for him and his comrades.”
In three days, the 7th battalion of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers of which Geoff was part, lost 150 of the remaining 300 soldiers in the battle around Dreyeroord.
That the preservation was unsuccessful, loosens a lot of feelings with the people who wanted to preserve the building.
“In September 1944 there was more of this building left after the battle, than there is now,” says Sander Wolterink, secretary of the foundation.
“This is a sad conclusion, but as foundation we are not undivided negative, we see that the building has been empty for a very long time and the new building that is to be built, respects the history.”
Pas says about this: “Preventing demolition was our main goal, but we can live well with the plans as they are now. The building that will soon be there, will feel familiar to those who fought there and the people who have deepened themselves in the battle of Arnhem and Oosterbeek.”
Pas sees the nomination for the Citizens’ initiative 2017 as an encouragement; “This is a good starting point from which we want to continue talking with the commune about the other Market Garden monuments in this area.”
“They still do not have the protected status they deserve, and municipal elections are coming up, which seems like a good idea to get this settled.”
The demolition of the current Dreyeroord is almost complete, the new ‘White House’ is expected to be there by the end of 2018. This building will be almost identical to the building as the British airborne troops found this in September 1944.
From 3 till 31 January, on the D-66 Renkum website it will be possible to vote for the foundation as Citizens’ initiative of 2017 (choose the last one).